Shafaat Ali has made a name for himself through his hilariously accurate parodies. He became especially popular with his Imran Khan and Bilawal Bhutto initiation. This Ramzan, we saw him hosting Dil Dil Ramzan, alongwith Bushra Ansari and Noman Ejaz and his energy and enthusiasm gained him quite a lot of appreciation. Talking to an online magazine HIP, he discussed in detail about his experiences and aspirations.
Q.How was your experience working alongside a comic-legend, Bushra Ansari on your very own Ramadan transmission? How do you think you’ve evolved with this project?
Syed Shafaat Ali ; I didn’t expect myself to be capable of handling the entire transmission but working alongside Bushra Ansari, Noman Ijaz and many there, it’s just been amazing. I think I’ll be able to do better transmissions now and catch more audiences.
Working in a Ramadan transmission is really tough because it’s religious and has to be a little comic as well, so finding a fine line in between them both is tough.
Q. You’ve been multi-tasking for the past few months on television, you’re making your film debut and much more, how are you manage it all? How does your wife respond to your busy schedule?
Syed Shafaat Ali; I’m travelling with my family and pretty thankful to my supportive wife for cooperating with me because that’s the only way you can take out time for them right now. Family comes first and she was here [in Karachi] with me during the Ramadan transmission as well.
Q. You plan on making your film debut with Parwaaz Hay Junoon, tell us a bit about your decision on why you chose this role, how were you approached and how has the experience been?
Syed Shafaat Ali; I actually had a cameo in Na Maloom Afraad, which was one or one and a half second-long, but I signed Parwaaz Hay Junoon first but it got delayed. Initially I thought I could present a different side of mine with this film and I thought films aren’t able to make much of an impact, but Parwaz Hai Junoon will definitely make a difference.
Q. We’ve all seen your talents in mimicry and acting from videos online, tell us a bit about all the other things you plan on doing and do you think your newfound fame is all credited to your gigantic social media presence?
Syed Shafaat Ali; I don’t think social media is something which requires recommendation; it is based on raw talent and public votes. It’s all about the entertainment and ‘x-factor’ that you have. Of course my fans have a huge part to play and I feel like if you want to make it big, YouTube is now the global PTV. So get yourself registered there and showcase what you have.
Q. We hear you’re also considering a television serial. What other avenues do you wish to explore?
Syed Shafaat Ali; Basically my niche is political comedy [satire] and it has always had a tough, limited audience, I want to work with that on a larger scale. I have been working on something big and Inshallah, I will be introducing it to the Pakistani audience in September.
Q. You want to take stand-up comedy from Pakistan internationally and make it recognized globally. How has that journey been for you so far and what’s next for you?
Syed Shafaat Ali; I actually want that and I recently did a European tour with an amazing audience there; Pakistani stand-up comedy is widely appreciated over there. I did stand-up sessions in Malaysia as well and all over Pakistan too.
The only reason we are not as recognized as other comedians is because we don’t have much knowledge on handling YouTube and if one wants to make it big, sign up there, get registered, learn and claim the stage.